For the first time in recent memory, inexperience has become a badge of honor, as opposed to an impediment to winning office. Voters are less and less inclined than ever before to support incumbent members of the Senate and the House for re-election. An unprecedented 2,300 new candidates are running for Congress. This anti-incumbent, anti-Washington mood is pushing voters to support Republicans and widening the enthusiasm gap between the two parties. The disproportionately high turnout of Republican primary voters in New Jersey, California and Iowa—three states with significantly more registered Democrats than Republicans—demonstrates that at the very least Republican voters are more energized and are mobilizing to a greater degree than their Democratic counterparts.
Given the general climate of disaffection and mistrust with Democrats and Republicans alike, it’s clear that the Republican Party’s greatest asset right now is that elections are binary choices and voters tend to turn against incumbents. Put simply, the Republicans are winning support because they are not Democrats.
What then are the American people looking for that the two major parties are not offering?
The American people are looking for candidates and parties that champion fiscal discipline, limited government, deficit reduction and a free market, pro-growth agenda. The tea party movement grew as a result of this desire, and its support is a reflection of a broad-based desire to elect candidates who are fiscally conservative and not tied to current policies. The greatest asset to President Obama and the Democratic leadership is the lack of a clear Republican message. It may be a partisan cliché, but the GOP is increasingly seen as the “Party of No”—its leaders are not offering hope, innovative ideas or any sort of agenda based on free-market policies and economic growth. Republicans must offer a clear set of core principles, if not a comprehensive set of bold new ideas. If they do not, their hopes for winning both houses of Congress come November—a goal that is well within reach—could be dashed.